1996 World Monuments Watch
The garden of the Villa Medici at Castello is the prototype for sixteenth-century Italian gardens. Nicolò Tribolo developed an iconographic program honoring the illustrious dominion of Tuscany under the new government of Cosimo I de Medici. Highlights include the great fountain of Hercules and Antaeus (by Tribolo and Pierino da Vinci, surmounted by the bronze statue group by Ammannati) and Ammannati’s grotto which was once animated by spectacular waterworks.
Today the garden provides the area with recreational space. Air pollution has caused the stonework and sculptures to deteriorate. Attention is needed to return this great site to a condition of optimum protection and maintenance. A master plan is being developed to replicate endangered sculpture and display the originals indoors. Restoration of a niche and replication of its sculpture have been proposed as a demonstration project to raise public awareness and encourage further support.